February 12, 2014

Overcome all the ties of nature

The War of 1812 in the Niagara Region saw many relationships broken as cross boarder ties were disrupted. This caused great hardship for many as family and friends were now on opposite sides.

One story of a family that was shattered by the War of 1812 was told by Dr. William ‘Tiger’ Dunlop. During the fighting around Fort Erie in August and September 1814, a father and his three sons were patrolling in the woods as part of the Glengarry Light Infantry. The father and sons were Loyalists who left the U.S. after the American Revolution. During a patrol, an American rifleman fired at the Glengarries, dropping a man, but this exposed the rifleman to the Glengarries. The father in the group fired back, killing the American rifleman.
Fighting in the woods around Fort Erie

Soon after, the father proceeded to loot the body of the rifleman when he discovered that he had killed his own brother. This did not deter the old man from taking the valuables of his brother, including an old silver watch and a clasp knife, along with his rifle. Dunlop remarks that the old man coolly remarked, “it served him right for fighting for the rebels, when all the rest of his family fought for King George.” Apparently, the lone brother decided to support the Americans during the revolution and the two brothers had not seen each other until this unfortunate incident. Dunlop goes on to remark, “such is the virulence of political rancour, that it can overcome all the ties of nature.”

This incident, among others, highlights the close bonds that were broken as a result of the destructive War of 1812. 

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